1. Schneider, Justin DNP, RN, AGPCNP-BC

Article Content

"How do you teach your students to care?" This was a question without an answer, until I was charged with codeveloping a gerontological nursing course. Nurse educators are good at assessing learning through NCLEX-style testing, but complex topics related to aging and what it means to care may not be best suited to a multiple-choice examination. A writing assignment based on Bettyville: A Memoir, Hodgman's poignant recounting of his return to his small town in Missouri to care for his mother who was struggling with dementia,1 was used to explore caring. Students were given a detailed rubric, which asked them to discuss the novel, focusing on the challenges of caregiving, what it means to care, and their personal thoughts about putting one's life on hold to care for an aging parent. The written work submitted was heartfelt and humorous, and often contained detailed revelations about caregiver fatigue they have witnessed in their own families. Students related the author's experience to their own and often came to profound realizations about their future role in patient and family-centered care. If given the opportunity, nurse educators should think beyond the students' textbook and incorporate more narrative medicine in their courses.




1. Hodgman G. Bettyville: A Memoir. Penguin Books; 2015. [Context Link]